As lambing season approaches, the manager of Corsham Park has appealed for dogs to be kept under control after several sheep were savaged.

More than 1,500 sheep graze on the 40-acre site in the grounds of Corsham Estate, which was opened to the public in 2008. Since then it has become a popular spot for dog-walkers, who often let their animals run free in the park.

Speaking on Friday, estate manager Chris Waltho, said: “Before Christmas we had a sheep attacked by a dog on two occasions.

“They were found with massive puncture wounds and internal injuries.

“We found another one this morning with severe puncture wounds. It needed 35 stitches; dogs can do a lot of damage.”

With the weather starting to improve and lambs already being born on the park Mr Waltho fears the problems will only increase.

He said: “People are welcome to Corsham Park to use the footpaths and walk their dogs, but they need to be under close control, or on a lead.

“An awful lot of dog walkers go through the park and that’s fine, but if they aren’t certain that they can keep their dogs under control then they must keep them on a lead.

“You have got to assume the worst if you are going to introduce your dog to sheep. You need to be sure your dog can be controlled.

“It’s no good shouting at it once it’s run off after a sheep.”

Francis Candy is one the flockmasters who care for the sheep on the park. He said: “The general public are very good, and usually when they spot something wrong they let us know, but it’s just the odd person who will let their dog chase sheep.

“We’ve had the sheep here for 15 years and never had a problem, but the lambs are going out now and as the weather gets nice this is the time people want to come out.

“It’s good to see people enjoying themselves, and as long as they are responsible they are very welcome.”